Monday, July 6, 2009

The 4 Ingredients to My Happiness & Success as a Home-maker

Ingredient #3: ORGANIZATION

I want the heart of my husband to safely trust in me. I am his helper. Keeping his home running smoothly is a job I intend to do as well as I am capable. This is what I mean by "organization." I do not necessarily mean a schedule of jobs, etc. What I mean is how to make everyday life run a little bit more smooth and stress-free.

For instance, I do not schedule when supper is, but I do write a weekly menu of what we will be eating. This helps me to make a grocery list with goals in mind and not just randomly grab things off the shelves. If I shop on Monday without knowing what we will be eating on Friday, I will most likely have to return to the store for more ingredients, thus causing me to spend even more money. This is not an organized method of providing food for my family nor is it using good stewardship.

Let me show you this week's menu:

Monday: Crock-pot Chicken, salt potatoes, peas, pie (?)

Tuesday: Burrito Casserole

Wednesday: Herby French Dip (crock-pot), salad

Thursday: spaghetti pie

Friday: Creamy Cheddary Chicken w/ mashed potatoes

Saturday: (Cassia's birthday party) pizza, pop, chips, snacks

Sunday: Makes-a-Meal Baked Beans (crock-pot)

Monday: Leftovers (yeah, we eat 'em)

In making this menu, I take in consideration what we already have in the freezers and pantry. It would be far from frugal if I made up a menu for the week and had to buy every single ingredient necessary. I do make sure to go through my coupons in order to save a few more cents.

This menu planning allows me to prevent the 4:00 stress of "what's for dinner?!" as I am able to just look at my list, knowing that we have all the ingredients in the house. Notice I am using my crock-pot three days this week. This is not uncommon as it ensures a good meal on some of my busier days. Just be sure to defrost your meat the night before or you'll have to rearrange your menu (which is not impossible, either).

Recently, I was able to do the seemingly impossible task of organizing my laundry, thus reducing the amount of daily loads and making it stress-free. Really - I'm not kidding. I was reading the Duggar's book, "20 and Counting" when I came across their family-laundry room idea. Let me give you a quick summary of how I've incorporated this into our home:

I went through each of my children's dressers and closets. I threw away those items that were ripped or stained beyond recognition. I gave away bags and bags of clothes that no longer fit, were hardly ever worn, or just things I didn't care for. I then had to make some difficult choices to give away items just because my American children still had an overabundance of clothes. Each child now has 9 pairs of underwear, 7-9 pairs of everyday socks, 2-3 pair church socks, and the girls own a couple of slips and pairs of bloomers. Each child has 2-3 pairs of pajamas. Each of these items are in a bin (1 for each child) under the clothes rack in the laundry room. On the clothes rack are their hanging clothes - 4 dress pants and 4 dress shirts for each boy, 4-5 dresses for daily wear for the girls, 4-5 church dresses, several white blouses (that 3 out of 4 of my girls can wear), and several coulottes. On a shelf, I have 1 pile of t-shirts for each child and the boys each have a pile of casual pants - about 7 shirts and 7 pants/each. Does this make any sense? Every morning, each child grabs what they are going to wear and I don't even mind them throwing it into the laundry after only 1 day's use. I do, at most, 3 loads of laundry/day, but usually just 2. The loads are not large and it takes me less than 10 minutes to fold, hang, and put away the clean items.

What's so great about this method? First, I no longer have to fight with my kids about clean clothes stuffed into drawers or all over the closet floor. I barely have to worry about dirty clothes on the floor. If a matching sock is missing, I can send a child upstairs to look for it as I know they all were just recently matched up. I am able to keep all clothes neat, wrinkle-free, and clean. The greatest thing? I have my sanity back!

How do I organize the cleaning of my house? Basically I do what I can when I can. Everyone has 15-30 minutes every other day to do some sort of cleaning. Dusting a room or two doesn't take long. I like to mop my floors at least twice a week - this usually occurs during nap time. School is over and it's not time to cook supper, so I have a chance to make the house more orderly before my husband comes home. Trust me, having my laundry under control and knowing what's for dinner gives me more time to focus on the rest of my home. I am one of the pickiest people I know when it comes to vacuuming so this job takes more of a chunk of time, but I am able to find that time about once a week. I don't have scheduled "days" as I find that I tend to dread "cleaning days." I'm much better if I just realize I have a few extra minutes to jump right in and get something accomplished.

I don't know about you, but I work much better in a clutter-free environment. I must straighten before I can succeed in getting any other work done. If you find your house in disarray, concentrate on de-cluttering for a few days before picking up the dust polish or vacuum. Once you get things put away, try to take a few minutes every day to maintain that.

For you moms with really little ones, please refer to Ingredient #2. I was not able to be this organized when my children needed all of my time and attention. I barely had time to discover or think about how to be more organized. It will happen - don't stress if it's not today.

Organization takes thought and planning. Then, all it takes is maintaining. I know that if I let things slide for even one day, I will begin to drown in the sea of disaster. I am keeping my head above water and even making some progress. I refuse to be a drowning victim. Organization is my life-preserver.


AmyLin said...

Drowning...that is EXACTLY what it feels like if my laundry day gets bumped for something else or the floor doesn't get swept after breakfast because we have to run out of the house...I feel myself slipping down the slope of chaos... I felt like such a freak feeling like that...but now I know I'm in good company. ;-b

Brenda said...

Oh this was so encouraging! Thank you. I've been on my own organization quest lately. You know, I read all about family laundry rooms here a few months ago and I was so inspired. Here it is: (under laundry/clothing). Anyway, I did some great organizing and tossing but I stopped just short of REALLY getting rid of clothes. I just couldn't do it.
Now you've got me thinking. We have WAY Too many clothes and your freedom is making me want some of that too.
Thanks for sharing!

Little Family said...

Amy said it right. Mondays I am cranky b/c the weekend has ended and it looks like a tornado came through the house. Especially with 2 services on Sunday.

But you are so right. Organization is key. I used to have a schedule on the fridge, but when Molly came and Peter left, I realized it was not realistic.

You are always so encouraging. Thanks for the dinner idea. I am very bad about waiting until last minute for dinner. Usually happens about 2 times a week and then I am stressed. Thankfully, I have a very patient husband. :) You are wonderful. Can't wait to read #4.:)

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